“ Brand: Tomy „
This track is based on the one found in the misty island rescue DVD which was released in 2010. As always the toys are released around October each year just in time for Christmas. This of course was found on my son's Christmas list so I purchased it while it was on a half price offer. It is still widely available, and by typing the name it to Google you will find a number of large retailers still stocking it.
In this set you receive a number of things, a large amount of track pieces, a motorised Thomas engine with trailer, a log, tree tunnels and tree supports for the winding track. This set is huge; you do need a large space to be able to completely build it up. The track is a darker colour than the other sets in this range; however it still fits with all the track master sets it is just the colour that differs. It all clicks together perfectly when you are building the set up, and it is stable without falling apart. Setting the track up can prove to be a little difficult at times. The first time I opened this and looked at the instructions I was overwhelmed. There seemed to be so much to put together, the log house needs building, then the zip line needs setting up. All of the track pieces have numbers on so you know what order they need to be put together in. This is the only track master set I have found that you cannot just pick up any piece, and put it together however you like. For the switches, and circuit to work correctly you need to follow the instructions exactly. In all it took me around twenty minutes the first time we set it up, but now we are used to it we find it takes about 10 minutes so not as bad as we first thought. My son now knows how to set this up independently, and as he knows the layout perfectly he builds it a lot faster than I do. Everything you need for the set is included, including a Thomas track master engine already supplied with the battery.
**The zip line**
The zip line is probably my children's favourite part of this set. As any motorised reaches the downhill ramp leading to the zip slide, the force of the engine moving on to the zip line pushes it down the line. This is a little annoying to fit when setting the track up, and it is usually the only piece my son needs help with. It fits any track master engine on it so other engines can be used with it. When it reaches the other side it automatically moves on to the next piece of track and carries on with the journey. It does need to be pushed back into place for the next slide, and my children enjoying doing this.
**The log house**
When you stop Thomas outside of the logging mill a conveyor belt powered by the friction from the engine lifts the log up. Then there is cutter to separate the log's magnets breaking it into two pieces. With another push of the button it slides the logs back down in to the awaiting Thomas truck. What I like about this set is rather than needing many batteries, this has been designed so the friction from the track master engine does the work. Both at the logging mill and the zip slide the engine does all the hard work, so all you need is the Thomas you are provided with.
As there are two possible changes in directions little one needs to do, by switching this points either way this sends Thomas along the track towards the mill, and by setting it the opposite way Thomas will visit the zip line. Also once Thomas has used the zip line little one needs to move it back for the next visit. The Thomas engine always needs to be stopped outside the mill, to operate the conveyor belt, so there really is a lot for children to do. I think that is why my children like it so much, on other track master sets the train simply moves around and around while they watch. However, with this set children need to interact a lot more, making it more entertaining and involving. My children love this whole set completely, it has so much more to do than other sets we own, so I find it keeps them occupied a lot longer. All the switches and leavers are very easy to operate so my children are fully able to play independently. They do get stuck sometimes but it only takes two seconds to fix for them.
With this set we do find that Thomas sometimes falls of the track, mostly when it is after he is flung back on to the track from the zip slide. Other times it just randomly falls off while moving around the circuit, which is a problem we have had with this set alone. It does not spoil the fun, if anything it actually makes it more exciting as my children like to see where Thomas falls off because he is working too quickly.
Also the tree tunnels provided with the set are great fun; although they are not interactive they do provide a great setting for little ones to play. My children love re-enacting the scenes from the movie, and this set is perfect for doing so. The track really is huge it fills up the whole of my front room space. It winds, twists and is set over two levels so it really is impressive. We like this as it is perfect for children to all use together. We found that the other track master engines worked well on this track, and with troublesome trucks they were about to have a turn at carrying the logs. Although this means they have to manually place the logs on the belt rather than tip them out it is still good fun.
My children really love this set, and they have spent many hours playing with it. The fact there is so much to do is fantastic. There is even little drop off points around the track for the logs so they can make deliveries. The simple design of the log is great, by pulling them apart it creates the effect of the log being cut in half. They can recreate scenes from the movie or make up new stories, and as it is compatible with all track master accessories it can also be built up. I would suggest keeping this separate from other tracks, as although this is a different colour so easily recognised it just makes it more convenient than searching through. It is recommended for three years plus which I believe is correct as there are so many parts that need adjusting for it to work correctly. Also it needs adult supervision, although there is nothing that could hurt the child as it is rather fiddly your child may need some help to get it all working at times.
We found this track to be a little more flimsy than the usual track, and for the money you pay I hoped for a little more. It is more the layout of the set that is the problem as the track pieces are solid, however as there is a higher level track it can begin to come apart or even fall away from its support. Thomas also needs to be positioned directly in the middle of the tract perfectly for him to make it around without falling off. This train set is very expensive retailing at around £60 which I think is way too much to spend on a toy. I managed to pick it up for £30 which is more reasonable, and I did think it was just about worth that price. There is so much to do on this set compared to similar items so I could understand why they were asking a high price. It takes a while to set up so we tend to try and build it where it can be undisturbed for large amounts of time.
I would recommend this set, just not at its retail price as I think this is way too high. I was happy with the amount I paid, and we find it is still a popular choice in our house now even though we purchased it over two years ago. My children have had a lot of use out of theirs and it still proves to be a firm favourite. If you have a Thomas mad child this is a great train track for their collection.